Mexico, with its nature, weather, culture, and other beautiful qualities, it is one of the best countries one can go to enjoy retirement. Here we share with you what, according to Nacion321, are the best five cities to go to and enjoy your golden years.
Guanajuato: Top option for living in Mexico with all of its traditions and colors. It is a beautiful, quite and bohemian city in which you can truly enjoy the country’s culture. Because of its architecture, gastronomy and parks, it is a great place to live in general, which also makes it a great option for housing investment.
Playa del Carmen: This is a city that is constantly growing because of its importance in tourism for the country. It has become one of the most important cities in the state because of this and it is one of the best options for anyone who enjoys the beach! Investing in retirement and housing here is a great option because of the quality of the city and its growing income from tourism..
San Cristobal de las Casas: This Chiapas city is widely known for its amazing coffee, but that’s not all it offers. Because of its huge flora and fauna, and overall natural beauty, it makes it to the list of top five best cities to enjoy your retirement in. You can enjoy the city while you drink one of its famous coffees, or go to a more extreme and natural side, by enjoying the waterfalls and lakes the area has. It is full of color and tranquility; you get to choose which one you want.
Chapala Lake: This city contains the largest community of expats in the country, being that it is one of the cities with the highest attractions for retirement. It offers you with beautiful weather, the nicest people, a rich culture, and one of the biggest, most beautiful lakes in Mexico. If this doesn’t make it a dream destination for just anyone, I wouldn’t know what does!
Mérida: This has always been one of the best cities to live in Mexico, overall. However, it has slowly become also one of the best ones for retirement. Because of its richness in Maya culture and mother nature attractions, it’s a city that is constantly growing, making it perfect for investment.
Mexico has plenty of cities that offer comfort, fun and security for people seeking retirement. These are just a few of them that cover most of the qualities one would look for when starting a new life chapter. Or even for a vacation! We’re sure that once you try them, you’ll want more.
There is a popular belief that getting medical attention in Mexico is just as hard or even harder than in the United States. This might have to do a lot with the media coverage regarding poverty and violence in Mexico, but while we do know that hospitals in the US have top notch technology and equipment, the attention you get in Mexico, Americans report, it’s better for half the costs.
According to reports by Veterans News Report, people in the Mexico spend 1/5 on healthcare compared to what they would spend in the States, and this is accompanied by a 90% satisfaction rate. Reports also mention that, while the #1 complaint for healthcare in the US is the lack of empathy or communication with your doctors, residents in Mexico often talk about how they felt listened and cared for by their doctor.
A community of expats residing in Lake Chapala report that they only spend $20 USD for a doctor’s visa, while spending $1000 USD on average for insurance, and so many of them only keep insurance for emergencies with a high deductible, knowing they won’t break the bank in the event of one.
With all this information we can only conclude that, while every country has its issues, we can rest assured that healthcare is not one in Mexico’s list.
Every year more expats choose to retire to Mexico. If you are looking to retire and socialize with fellow Americans you will be able to find plenty of places. In fact Mexico has the largest population of U.S. expats anywhere in the world.
We always recommend that you try before you buy. Rent for a few months and immerse yourself in everyday life before moving. Get a feel for mundane tasks like bill paying and grocery shopping. A benefit of this is you can get a more accurate idea of how much your cost of living in Mexico will be. If possible spend time in Mexico during the rainy season. This will allow you to find out how you will cope with the humidity and daily downpours.
Clearing Up Some Mexican Myths
Mexico has a reputation of being an unsafe country, full of drug cartels and bandits. While there are places you should avoid, this is the case anywhere in the world. If you take the same basic safety precautions you would take anywhere else you should be fine. For example don’t advertise your wealth or park an expensive car in the driveway for everybody to see.
Something else worth consideration is the difference between violent crime and property crime. Violet crime is nearly all gang related, and should not impact on your Mexican retirement. Of course, areas with a high property crime are the areas you should stay away from. Take steps to ensure your property is save such as bars on windows or security cameras. A dog or electric fence are also strong burglar deterrents.
Another myth that needs clarifying are Mexican prices. Not everywhere in Mexico is cheap. Mexico City for example can be very expensive in parts. Likewise, real estate in the major tourist areas can also be costly. Admittedly they are much cheaper than what you would pay for the same kind of thing in the States. But don’t make the mistake that everywhere in Mexico is a bargain.
Things To Be Aware Of
Not Everyone Speaks English
In the big cities, major expat and tourist areas most people speak English. If you move here you can get by without learning Spanish and be comfortable.
If you move outside of these areas though you will find that most people speak only Spanish. An intermediate level of Spanish in these places is nearly essential. Setting up utilities, dealing with tradesmen and lots of other menial tasks involve speaking Spanish. As a result, these may be next to impossible if you cannot communicate.
If you don’t already speak Spanish, the challenge of learning a new language can be a great opportunity. Lots of expats fail in their retirement overseas because they have nothing to do. Learning a new language can provide your life with a purpose. This is so important in enjoying your life.
Mexicans value freedom of the individual in the same way that the U.S. did in years past. There is far less bureaucracy and red tape here and you are mostly left to do as you please. This can make a refreshing change. However you will need to keep up your end of the bargain and not complain unnecessarily.
You Need To Keep Your Guard Up
As a foreigner, most people will assume you are wealthy. The first thing to be aware of is the exchange rate. If you can’t quickly convert the from dollars to pesos you be in a vulnerable position.
Taxi drivers may try to take advantage of you. If you can speak Spanish you will be in a better position. Speak with locals to find out what a fair price is.
It also pays to beware of police officers in Mexico. Unsuspecting tourists and expats are bread and butter for some police officers who will use any offence as a chance to solicit a bribe. Often police threatening you with a fine for a minor offence expect you to pay a bribe.
You Will Need To Be Resilient
Moving to Mexico is one of the easier overseas moves you can make. However you will still need resilience if you want to succeed south of the border.
Power outages are fairly common in Mexico and you will have to get used to being without power at certain times. Random water outages are also fairly common. Sometimes the water company will put out a warning, but more often than not it will be a surprise.
As in many Latin American countries, Mexicans show great respect for elder generations. The government of Mexico creates special programs that reflect this sentiment.
The INAPAM or Instituto Nacional para las personas Adulatas Mayores comes in the form of a discount card. If you are over the age of 60 you are eligible for this card and the range of discounts that comes with it.
Some of the discounts you can get from the INAPAM include:
A discount of 5-7% on medications
Up to 50% on busses if you book in advance
Up to 50% off at the cinema
40% discount on property tax
Free entry to many museums
Around 10% off at many restaurants
Discounts in many department stores
Discounted water bills
There are lots more discounts available for INAPAM holders, it is always worth asking to see if you can get a discount.
Where To Retire In Mexico
Deciding where to retire in Mexico depends on what you want from your retirement. Mexico has varied landscapes, climates and cities. As a result there is something to suit all tastes.
From Mexico’s colonial cities to its pristine, white sand beaches, it’s hard not to find a spot fitting your retirement specifications. The choices are endless and the best part is they are yours to make. You can choose from a variety of climates, elevations, and scenery. Here are a few of our favorite places for retiring in Mexico:
You will have no difficulty in finding English speakers here. There are lots of expats and lots of tourists as well. Spanish will of course be helpful but is by no means essential. Many expats never learn Spanish beyond a basic level.
The Akumal Medical center offers quality healthcare for everyday ailments. It has a 24 hour ambulance call out service. They also offer emergency transfers to local hospitals or airports. The Riviera Maya hospitals are around a 30 minute drive.
Due to the fast-growing growing popularity of the Riviera Maya, Akumal could be a good investment. The real estate market is well developed and people here are used to dealing with expats. The market is fairly liquid and you shouldn’t have too much difficulty selling or renting out your property.
Meaning “Land of the Turtles” in Mayan, Akumal has some of the most spectacular waters in Mexico. The town has a nice location Riviera Maya, close to the big tourist towns of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Akumal is perfect for those looking for something a little quieter in the Riviera Maya. Flights to and from the U.S. are very convenient.
Akumal is one of Mexico’s best places for snorkeling. You won’t be able to dive at the turtle nesting grounds, but you can find areas where it is possible to dive with turtles
There is not much English spoken in Morelia. If you want to thrive here you will need to learn Spanish. The Baden Powell Institute has a good reputation and is used to dealing with expats. The also organize tours to help you get settled and learn your way around.
Morelia has hospitals and health centers of an excellent standard. Hospital Memorial, while not cheap, offers health care to a U.S. standard. Prices are still far less than you would pay in the states. Hospital Angeles is another 24 hour hospital offering quality health care. There are plenty of affordable medical centers that will take care of minor illnesses.
As mentioned, you will need to speak or at least plan to learn Spanish. That said, there are a few bilingual estate agents you can use such as Mexatua. The market is starting to heat up as fears over the cartels are subsiding. Like many places in Mexico, the dangers are often overplayed by the media. If you are looking for colonial property at a good price, Morelia should be near the top of your list.
If you want to retire in Mexico and enjoy a cooler climate you could consider Moriela. A city of about 1 million people. At an altitude of close to 2,000 meters it has a year round spring feel.
Morelia is a relatively undiscovered retirement destination. In the last couple of years the mainstream media are picking up on it. A classic Spanish Renaissance town, Morelia is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can find pink stone buildings and horses and donkeys still used to transport people and goods. Despite the old world charm Morelia has all the modern amenities such as reliable internet, and even U.S. department stores.
Morelia benefits from direct flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Morelia is perfect if you are looking for a more authentic Mexican retirement.
San Miguel de Allende
There is a small expat population so you can’t rely on being able to speak only English. However, as a growing tourist town people are making the effort to learn English. Shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and other service industry places usually have some staff who can speak English. You will need to learn Spanish, but will be able to get by until you can.
San Miguel de Allende has plenty of hospitals. The newest one, Hospital MAC is modern with a range of specialists. Many of the staff here are bilingual. This is a private hospital and so medical insurance is advisable. People with existing medical conditions can live in San Miguel de Allende and be confident in the treatment at hand.
You can find everything from luxury real estate through to affordable living. The market is booming here and liquidity is high. There are lots of estate agents who can help you buy and guide you through the process of purchasing real estate here.
San Miguel de Allende is based in Guanajuanto state in the center of Mexico. The picturesque town with its colonial buildings, and clean mountain air, has long been popular with artists. More recently, it has become a popular expat destination. Nowadays, a tourist industry exists alongside the traditional agricultural industry.
The towns famous historic center has changed very little over hundreds of years. You can walk down cobblestone lanes and easily imagine you are living in a different age. There are a range of eclectic shops, boutiques and restaurants and galleries, you will never be stuck for things to do if you retire here.
Cabo San Lucas
Most of the population here speak at least some English. If you want to move to Mexico but don’t want to learn Spanish, Cabo is a great choice. Any effort to speak Spanish will be appreciated though and there will always be situations where speaking Spanish will help.
The area has three modern hospitals which are maintained to U.S. standards. The prices are much lower than in the U.S. which is one of the benefits of retiring in Mexico. You can also fly to San Diego for treatment if required. There are lots of health centers to take care of minor complaints.
There is real estate to suit all budgets in Los Cabos. From luxury to budget. The market is growing and you can expect fewer and fewer affordable properties going forward. Real estate agents are used to dealing with expats and will be able to help you with viewings and the purchasing process.
Cabo is conveniently located for the retiree and with direct flights to a number of U.S. cities. It actually consists of two towns. One is San Lucas, a lively area with bars, nightclubs and hotels. The other is San Jose which is quieter and more residential. San Jose is where you can go for local festivals and San Lucas for fine dining.
The area has modern hospitals which are maintained to U.S. standards. You can also fly to San Diego for treatment if required.
Merida has a large English speaking population. Many of the locals speak some English, and there are lots of expats and tourists. By plugging into the expat community you can easily build up a network of English speaking contacts.
There are lots of quality hospitals including government hospitals. You can find treatment for most complaints here. Many of the doctors and health care providers speak English.
The Yucatan area is doing well for real estate and Merida is no different. The most popular place to buy real estate is in Merida’s historic center. Recent estimates show that nearly half of all home here are owned by foreigners. Merida is a tourist hotspot and an investment here comes with rental potential.
Merida is definitely one of the most picturesque retirement locations in Mexico. Beautifully maintained colonial buildings line cobblestoned streets. Merida has a number of museums and galleries to explore. You are also close to Mayan ruins.
Merida is a destination which is becoming popular with both retirees and digital nomads. It is also well policed and has one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico. Merida is also one of the cleanest big cities in Mexico, and one of the least polluted.
Merida is a spacious and tranquil city, free of the overcrowding which you can find elsewhere in Mexico.
Many of the Mexicans here speak some English especially if they work in the services industries. The locals you meet in your daily life will probably only speak Spanish. The area sees a lot of tourists many of whom expect to speak English all the time. If you can speak a little Spanish it will be appreciated.
The town has excellent medical facilities and plenty of pharmacies. The Amerimed trauma Centre is a U.S. standard ambulance service and air evacuations are also available. Lots of the hospitals were created with assistance from the United States. As a result you will find that English is widely spoken. There are three hospitals and a number of medical centers.
The real estate market here is thriving. There are lots of established agents who can help you find properties. There are also lots of proven companies who can offer rental management services. A large number of snowbirds who come here for the winter. If you want to live here out of season you can earn big money from rental during the winter.
The romantic resort town of
Puerto Vallarta. The town offers top-notch shopping, and fine dining. There are easy flights to the United States and English speakers for socializing. Also a beautiful location on the Pacific. The cost of living for a couple in Puerto Vallarta comes to as little as US$1,590 per month. You’ll see carbon copies of the stores you see back home—Walmart, Starbucks, Costco—stocked with the same brands you’re used to buying every day. But if you’d like to make a clean break from the American way, you have plenty of opportunity for that, too. The different areas of Puerto Vallarta have their own unique character.The climate of Puerto Vallarta, which is similar to Hawaii, has made it a popular retiree location for years. The nearby Sierra Madre Mountains are perfect for hiking and provide a wonderful backdrop for the city. As such there are plenty of amenities such as golf and fishing. It is a great location for birders and there are hundreds of species including some very rare ones.
You Can Retire in Mexico for Low-Cost or a Life of Luxury
Retiring in Mexico has always been a top choice for North Americans. Mexico allows you to escape the cold winters andstretch retirement budgets. It’s also a great place to seek out an adventure. Mexico is hands down the easiest retire-overseas option for North Americans. For many retirees, Mexico offers many of the benefits of back home, without much of the hassle. The need to be close to children and grandchildren might detract some from Europe, Asia, and even South America, but not Mexico. Trips back and forth to the U.S. are quick and easy. If your family members are from the U.S. or Canada they won’t even need a visa for to come and visit you.
Furthermore, you can retire in Mexico whether you are on a budget or trying to live out your dreams on a well-established nest egg. The average Social Security retirement check for is still less than $1,400 per month. So, even at the high end of the spectrum, many couples can live in Mexico on one person’s Social Security.
How Will You Spend Your Days Once You Retire In Mexico?
You can spend your days strolling the beaches of the Riviera Maya, sipping a “café Americano” from your terrace in Álamos. Or shopping in one of Puerto Vallarta’s bountiful boutiques. If you are the type who enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, diving, rock climbing, Mexico has more than enough to keep you engaged. Mexico also offers shopping, wine tasting, fine dining, and the theatre. That’s the thing about Mexico, you can retire here no matter your lifestyle, and find your way.
Are you at risk of outliving your retirement savings? Many Americans are making their money go a little further by retiring overseas, and there are some perks beyond pure affordability.
About seven in 10 baby boomers are working past age 65 or expect to, according to a report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. It estimated that boomers have a median of just $152,000 saved for retirement.
In the U.S., men could, on average, outlive their personal savings by eight years, and women could by 11 years, according to the World Economic Forum.
The Transamerica report also found that 67 percent of workers said they dream of traveling during retirement, and that the cost of living is the top factor for people when deciding where to retire.
HOW TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT WHILE HELPING FAMILY WITH FINANCES
DEMAND FOR VACATION HOMES SPIKES AS LOWER MORTGAGE RATES ENTICE BUYERS
For many retirees, moving abroad can mean they get to live out their dreams of traveling while still benefiting from a lower cost of living than they’d have in the U.S. Eligible U.S. citizens may receive their Social Security payments outside the U.S., unless they’re in a handful of barred countries like North Korea.
As of 2016, the State Department estimated more than 9 million U.S. citizens were living abroad and more than 500,000 people living outside the U.S. received some kind of Social Security benefit, according to the Social Security Administration.
The website Live and Invest Overseas analyzed locations around the world, looking at factors like cost of living and real estate prices, as well as issues like health care, infrastructure and crime. It then used the data to come up with a list of the 10 best places to retire — or otherwise live — overseas.
Some of them may be surprises — ever think you could retire to France or Italy? Here are the 10 best places to live overseas, according to Live and Invest Overseas:
10. George Town, Malaysia
George Town is the capital of Malaysia’s Penang region, and English is widely spoken there, according to the website. The city features a rich historic heritage, nearby beaches and inexpensive-yet-delicious food. Malaysia is also very tax-friendly for people coming from overseas, as only income earned from within the country is taxed.
9. Città Sant’Angelo, Italy
Abruzzo offers everything that Tuscany has but at a much lower cost, according to the website. Città Sant’Angelo is a small town that offers residents a traditional Italian lifestyle. But retirees moving there will likely need to learn Italian.
8. Annecy, France
This city is located in the French Alps and known for its skiing. But it also boasts many pieces of history, dating back to the Gallo-Roman Empire. The region, Savoy, is also home to many great restaurants including some with Michelin stars, according to the website.
7. San Ignacio, Belize
This community is located in Belize’s inland Cayo region, which is also home to the country’s capital and a U.S. embassy. The fast-growing region features rain forests, pastures and distant mountains.
6. Occitanie, France
Occitanie offers quaint countryside living in the south of France without the big prices of the more popular Provence. Property prices in Occitanie are almost half what they are in Provence, according to the website. Plus, wine from the region’s village of Saint-Chinian is becoming increasingly popular.
5. Valletta, Malta
Malta is a “jewel in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea,” according to the website. The small EU nation has a high standard of living, friendly English-speaking residents and easy access to other European countries.
4. Cuenca, Ecuador
This walkable city features cobblestone streets, reliable infrastructure and first-rate-yet-inexpensive health care, according to the website. Ecuador also uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, so retirees won’t have to worry about tracking exchange rates.
3. Mazatlán, Mexico
Mexico has long been a popular place for Americans to retire, due in part to its accessibility and weather. Mazatlán stands out as an attractive option thanks to its walkable city center, beautiful beaches and homey feel, according to the website.
2. Cascais, Portugal
Cascais sits on Portugal’s coast. The town is “one of the world’s most affordable places to embrace a luxury-standard lifestyle on the ocean,” according to the website. It’s also a very walkable community with friendly locals.
1. Algarve, Portugal
Also on Portugal’s coast, the Algarve region sits at the very southwest corner of Europe, on the same latitude as Delaware. The website said Algarve has “the best climate in Europe” but is also welcoming and safe.
Mexico is a big, extraordinarily diverse country that offers two long coasts, mountains and colonial cities. There are also Mayan ruins, jungle, rain forest, rivers and lakes. You could say that Americans have voted this country the best place in the world to live outside the U.S. in the way that really matters — with their feet.
Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. is perhaps the biggest plus for American retirees, because being in Mexico makes it easy for them to return home to see their grandkids as often as they want. Plus, the excellent infrastructure makes living easy, residency is straightforward and both real estate and the cost of living in general are very affordable.
Mexico is also familiar, and has many businesses Americans recognize. Across the country you find American franchises from McDonald’s and Pet Depot to Walmart and Starbucks. Almost anything you use or consume in the U.S. is also available in Mexico, though how easily available depends on where you base yourself in the country. The more remote or rural your location, the farther you’ll have to travel to shop at the nearest Walmart.
English is so widely spoken in Mexican cities it could be an official language. Living outside a major city or tourist zone, it’s better to speak a little Spanish, but you really can get by in this country with English.
Mexico could be the retirement spot for you if you seek an adventure overseas, but don’t want to give up all the comforts of home. The challenge is that the country offers many appealing lifestyle and climate alternatives, and you need to decide where you might be happiest. Consider these eight retirement options in Mexico:
1. Puerto Vallarta. In Puerto Vallarta, the warm weather and picturesque location are enhanced by the colonial charm of cobblestone streets and Spanish architecture. Locals are fun and friendly, the seafood is fresh and delicious and this region of Mexico is the birthplace of tequila. In other words, Puerto Vallarta has all the elements of a party just waiting to happen.
In addition, Puerto Vallarta boasts beautiful beaches, abundant opportunity for water sports, great restaurants, a lively art scene, modern, convenient shopping options, a large expat community with English widely spoken and good access to the U.S. All of that combines to make this one of the most affordable and turnkey options for a Pacific coast retirement.
2. Tulum. The town of Tulum is at the center of the Riviera Maya, an area stretching from Playa del Carmen in the north to Punta Allen in the south along the Caribbean and inland to the Mayan ruins of Coba. This area is easily among the most exotic and beautiful geographical areas on Earth. Rocky coastlines intermix with white sand beaches, spectacular cenotes (crystal-clear swimming and diving pools), tropical jungles and remnants of Mayan temples.
Tulum is separated from the beach by a wide swath of marsh and jungle that is mostly undeveloped. A good road runs from the town to the beach, then follows along the beach for several miles in two directions — one side connects to the picturesque Mayan ruins of Tulum, the other enters the UNESCO World Heritage site of the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an. This is truly a nature-lover’s playground. The unpretentious town enjoys a lively cafe, restaurant and bar culture. Dining and drinking out are the favorite socializing activities for expats and retirees here.
3. San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is a small town in the heart of Mexico known for its romantic ambiance, beautiful city center and rich and interesting history. For these reasons, San Miguel de Allende has been a favorite among foreign retirees since the late 1960s.
Nestled between low hills on three sides, the semi-desert valley is mostly flat in the historic center, great for walking and chock full of delightful ways to fill your days and nights. The number of first-class restaurants and fine shopping options per block is unmatched anywhere else in Mexico.
The city’s big, historic hacienda-style houses have been renovated into patio restaurants, coffee houses, upscale cantinas and niche shops, most owned and managed by Mexicans native to San Miguel, who are famous for being friendly and gracious. Plus, the town is blessed with great weather.
4. Mexico City. A mythical and modern metropolis founded by an advanced indigenous people, Mexico City is a mesmerizing hub of human civilization. This is a world capital of art, culture and anthropology with a rich and fascinating history, an abundance of breathtaking architecture and top-tier gastronomy.
At once sophisticated and chaotic, traditional and modern, Mexico City is a place of delicious contradictions that has the feel of many cities in one. This “city of palaces” combines the baroque grandeur of Rome or Vienna, romantic canals like those of Venice, cuisine on par with that you might associate with Paris and the quiet charm of a Spanish-colonial pueblo.
5. Guanajuato. The silver mines of Mexico’s central highlands provided the incredible wealth that brought Spain to world prominence in the 16th century and also created Guanajuato, the crown jewel of Mexico’s colonial cities. The steep canyon walls of Guanajuato are zig-zagged by twisted alleyways, and most residents live in homes that look down upon the town in the valley below.
It’s an impressive and romantic landscape, but not exactly friendly to people who are disabled. This city of old world architectural marvels might not be a good choice for someone who has difficulty walking or does not want to own a car.
6. La Bahia de Navidad. La Bahía de Navidad, on Mexico’s Costa Alegre, translates to “Christmas Bay on the Happy Coast.” The bay’s beautiful, sweeping, crescent-shaped coast and beach are home to Barra de Navidad, at the southeast end of the bay, which shares the beach with its neighbor, Melaque, on the northwest end. These two towns, separated by just a short walk across the beach, are very different.
Barra de Navidad is chic, charming and upscale, with good restaurants and jumping nightspots, anchored by the elegant Grand Bay Hotel. Melaque is more rustic and laid-back. This is a typical oceanside Mexican village where fishing, agriculture and tourism provide a relaxed lifestyle for the locals. Both of these towns receive thousands of winter visitors each year. The bay is well connected by air to the U.S., Canada and the rest of Mexico, with flight times of just a few hours.
7. San Cristobal de las Casas. San Cristobal de las Casas is not your typical Mexican resort or quaint tourist development. This is a high altitude and high attitude colonial city dating to 1528 and set in a lush green valley amid the sometimes fog shrouded mountains of Chiapas State, at 7,000 feet. San Cristobal de las Casas is one of Mexico’s few remaining colonial gems. The downtown is laid out according to the typical Spanish grids, with streets named after heroes and events from the country’s history.
San Cristobal is an elegant center of sophisticated shops and restaurants of every imaginable persuasion. Whether you feel like Lebanese or Argentine food tonight or the latest fashions from Mexico city, it’s all here.
8. Morelia. Sixteenth-century Morelia, one of Mexico’s finest but least-known cities, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. When you see it, you’ll wonder why it took them so long. Morelia is a breathtaking city with classic Spanish Renaissance structures all of pink stone. Walking among them is like taking a walk back in time. Horses are still a mode of travel and goods are sold from the backs of donkeys. Yet, this city is also firmly established in the 21st century, with internet cafes and even a Walmart.
Perhaps the most unique thing about this picturesque town in the hills of Mexico is that, despite its ease of access from the U.S. and direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, Americans seldom make their way here. Few Americans have ever heard of this lovely, livable town in Mexico.
“Is Mexico safe?” It’s a question many American travelers have asked themselves, especially in the wake of a sweeping security alert for Mexico issued by the U.S. State Department. Such travel advisories can be confusing, but this one is pretty clear and even includes a color-coded map revealing the most dangerous (marked in red) and safest places in Mexico (marked in blue).
Mexico is a vast country, with heaps of beautiful and interesting places to see, and some 28 million Americans safely travel there each year. To help you plan your own trip, I’ve gathered some of the safest places to visit in Mexico, complete with information on why you should go and where to stay.
The Safest Places in Mexico
Keep in mind that bad things can happen even in the safest places in Mexico, and destinations that don’t appear on this list could still be great spots for a vacation. No matter where you go in Mexico, you’ll want to follow common-sense rules such as drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your valuables at home.
Despite a longstanding reputation as a dangerous city to visit, Mexico City only has an advisory to exercise increased caution, and for good reason; the downtown core in particular is considered quite safe, and the city has numerous attractions for visitors—including street art, colorful markets, and more than 150 museums.
Where to Stay: The small, beautifully decorated Nima Local House Hotel is one of the best luxury hotel options in the city. For a more affordable option, consider the Chillout Flat Bed & Breakfast, which earns plaudits for friendly service and homemade granola.
Once considered a nice day trip from Mexico City (it’s two hours away by car), Puebla is emerging as a primary destination in its own right. After all, it’s not a small village; Puebla is Mexico’s fourth-largest city, with some of the country’s best examples of Spanish colonial architecture. Additionally, at 7,200 feet above sea level, Puebla never gets too hot, and it’s considered one of the safest places in Mexico.
Where to Stay: There are numerous places to stay in Puebla that won’t break the bank. One of the best is the Casona Maria Hotel Boutique, with its pretty courtyard and convenient location within walking distance of the historic center.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest places in Mexico, as evidenced by its popularity with expats. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated almost right in the middle of Mexico and offers cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial churches, and plenty of great restaurants. The nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco, less than 10 miles away, is also a World Heritage Site and an important pilgrimage site for penitent Mexicans and tourists alike.
Where to Stay: With its cozy common areas and brightly painted rooms, Casa de la Noche is an appealing place to rest your head.
As Playa del Carmen has been the site of some troubling violence in the past, the coastal town of Tulum to the south may be a safer alternative. It is also less touristy than other resort towns on the Yucatan Peninsula, offering well-preserved ruins of the former Mayan city walls and other historic structures right in town. The State Department has explicitly stated there are no restrictions on travel to Tulum or to Chichen Itza, the magnificent archaeological site just an hour up the road.
Where to Stay: Guests appreciate the clean, comfortable rooms and fast Wi-Fi at the centrally located Posada Luna del Sur.
A beach town located in Oaxaca to the southwest of Puerto Escondido, Huatulco offers tons of water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, some nearby surf spots, and tours of coffee farms to boot. Huatulco is considered one of the safest places in Mexico.
Where to Stay: For an indulgent resort experience you can’t do much better than Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, where amenities include multiple swimming pools and tennis courts, yoga classes, watersports, and seven restaurants.
Merida and Valladolid
Gerardo Tanaka Pacheco, Senior Account Executive for MSL Group, the public relations firm for VisitMexico.com, recommends these two towns as great alternatives to other nearby tourist hot spots. “A lot of people go to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, but on the Yucatan Peninsula there are these two beautiful colonial cities that are so welcoming, colorful, and full of traditions that travelers won’t regret visiting them,” he says.
A great example of Spanish colonial influence, Merida is a walking-friendly town that is connected to Chichen Itza by a toll road, which is considered the safest way to travel in Mexico if you are driving. The Mayan influence remains strong here, and the area has its own style of cuisine that diverges considerably from what you will find in other parts of Mexico.
Midway between Merida and Cancun is Valladolid, a colorful and friendly city that’s within easy driving distance of several beautiful cenotes.
Where to Stay: In Merida, consider snagging a poolside room at the Luz En Yucatan. In Valladolid, you can’t go wrong at the centrally located Hotel Posada San Juan.
Pacheco says that Bacalar, also on the Yucatan Peninsula, is “an amazing place, kind of unknown and definitely uncrowded. This is one of my favorite secrets spots in Mexico; the lagoon there is unbelievable.”
Called the Lake of Seven Colors, the lagoon stretches for 42 kilometers and is fed by underground rivers. Like Todos Santos mentioned below, Bacalar holds the official designation as a “Pueblo Magico,” or Magical Town, due in large part to the lagoon. In addition to being one of the safest places in Mexico, Bacalar is also very affordable.
Where to Stay: At the Bacalar Lagoon Resort, you can get a view of the lake right from your cabana.
Why visit Guanajuato? Think old mines, a mummy museum, and streets so narrow that one is called the Alley of the Kiss because couples can smooch one another from opposite sides. You can visit Guanajuato as a day trip from nearby San Miguel de Allende or use it as a home base in itself. Visitors to the area are mostly native Mexicans, so you can immerse yourself in the culture fairly well; try a miner’s enchilada if you get a chance.
Where to Stay: For a cozy stay right near the funicular into the center of town, book one of the eight rooms at Casa Zuniga B&B. There’s a homemade Mexican-style breakfast every morning.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Campeche is a walled Spanish colonial city that has been superbly restored nearly to its former glory. The walled center is somewhat of a museum piece, but the life of the town surrounding it might even be the main attraction. There are also significant Mayan ruins in the state of Campeche, of which the city is the capital; these aren’t as well known as the famous ruins to the east, and as such they’re less crowded.
Where to Stay: Try for a balcony room or suite at the modestly priced Hotel Socaire.
Queretaro’s streets are a wondrous mix of old and very old, as grid-like Spanish streets connect to the pre-Hispanic winding lanes from the time of the Otomi. From rock climbing and art galleries to architecture sightseeing, there is a ton to do in this central Mexican city.
Where to Stay: La Casa del Atrio, across from the Museo de Arte, is both popular and affordable.
Yelapa is “Mexico’s last authentic beach town,” says Pacheco, “and is definitely under the radar. [Expect] great seafood, great beaches, nice hotels, and none of the inflated prices.”
I’ve included Yelapa for folks who want a deeper Mexican experience, but note that it’s in one of the State Department’s orange zones—so you’ll want to do a bit more research before choosing this part of Jalisco.
Where to Stay: The Hotel Lagunita is right on the water, with amazing views and a pool from which to enjoy them.
This surf town in Baja California Sur features world-class waves and lots of natural beauty—and it’s just far enough north of touristy Cabo San Lucas to offer respite from the crowds. Todos Santos is slowly being discovered, but its stone streets and uncrowded beaches have earned it the official Pueblo Magico designation.
Loreto, Mexico is a hidden jewel on the Baja Peninsula with peaceful charm and dazzling landscapes. With plenty of unique things to do in Loreto and incredible beauty to bask in, discovering the top 10 reasons to visit Loreto Mexico is without a doubt a pleasure for those who make the trip. Inside this Loreto travel guide, you’ll find ten of the best reasons to make Loreto, Baja California Sur your next vacation destination.
1. The Peaceful Tranquility
Loreto, Baja California Sur is still relatively new on the tourism radar and even though it isn’t the most popular destination in Mexico, it is a place where you can find the tranquility of only the most exclusive vacation destinations. In Loreto, you won’t find rows and rows of tourists sunbathing on the beach and partying until the sun comes up. The energy that draws visitors to the Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) throughout the year is much more laidback. The city starts to shut down around ten each night, making Loreto, Mexico the place to go for a relaxing and rejuvenating trip.
2. The Ability to Be at One with Nature
This destination in Mexico is well known for its crystal clear waters and jagged rock formations that rise strikingly from the sea. The city itself is located on one of Mexico’s most important reserves, the Loreto National Marine Park, that is home to over 800 species of fish and marine life. One of the best things to do in Loreto is a guided hike where you can learn about the wildlife and environment surrounding the city. There are also several Loreto tours that will help you explore the terrain and discover breathtaking views of the sea. You can even visit a number of the Islands of Loreto, each of which offers a unique experience that ranges from historical sites to breathtaking Loreto beaches.
3. Isla Coronado
Just off the shores of the city, the Islands of Loreto offer some of the best Loreto activities. Different Loreto tours will take you by boat to explore the islands. Along the way, you can spot the marine life: tropical fish, pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins. Isla Coronado is the most famous of the Islands of Loreto for its white sand and natural bay where you can spend a day relaxing, swimming, and exploring the footpaths that wind their way over the rocky landscape.
4. Loreto Whale Watching Opportunities
From January until March, the majestic humpback and blue whales migrate down the Baja Peninsula, seeking warm waters for giving birth. Observing these creatures in their natural habitat is one of the most popular Loreto activities. Different boat companies will take you to sea to view the animals coming up for air and diving back down. For a once in a lifetime experience, enjoy the Blue whales, the largest mammal on the planet, on one of these magical Loreto tours that are by far, one of the best reasons visit Loreto, Mexico.
5. The Food
The food in Loreto, Mexico is exquisite with more local and fewer processed ingredients. Being far from a large city means that many chefs grow their own seasonings and rely on locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood. Indulge in fine dining at one of the elegant resort restaurants or wander through the town for authentic Mexican dishes, like torta sandwiches, sizzling tacos, or Chocolate Clams, a native dish you may only find in Loreto, Baja California Sur.
6. Craft Beer
Across the world, beer drinkers have become more select when it comes to their beverage, and Loreto is no exception. El Zopilote Brewing Company has become a favorite spot for locals and visitors to sample craft beers. Since there aren’t the large clubs you would find in other larger vacation destinations, El Zopilote is the perfect choice for some laid back nightlife.
The history of this Magic Town is by far one of the best reasons to visit Loreto, Mexico especially if you like to learn while on vacation. Loreto, Baja California Sur was the first Spanish colonial city on the Baja Peninsula, and the home of many Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries. You can glimpse the city’s past as you wander down cobblestone streets surrounded by colonial architecture in downtown. Mission Loreto is a church that has been standing over the city since the late 1600s, and visiting this cultural centerpiece of the city and its museum are some of the top things to do in Loreto in every Loreto travel guide. There are also a few other historical sites to check out while visiting Loreto, such as the salt mines on Isla Carmen, the San Javier Mission, and the Museum of Jesuit Missions.
8. Incredible Sunsets
Because the city is on the west coast, the sky is lit up in brillant pinks and oranges every night as the sun makes its way to the horizon. Take a walk on the beach or sit with a glass of wine as you watch this dazzling show every night in this truly beautiful destination in Mexico.
9. Water Sports
There are a variety of Loreto activities that will keep you active and on the water. Try paddle boarding or kayaking for an active but rejuvenating day. Many vendors in the town and along the beaches will rent you a board or boat for a blissful day on the Loreto National Marine Park where you’ll discover a wealth of tropical fish and other marine life. Go further out to sea on a fishing trip or on a tour around the Islands of Loreto.
10. The Hospitality
The best reason to travel to Loreto, Mexico is the warm hospitality that will make you feel at home. From the highly-trained resort staff to the local vendors and taxi drivers, the people of Loreto, Baja California Sur love sharing the beauty of the city with those who come to enjoy it. You’ll find that those you encounter are friendly, helpful, and eager to share their culture with you.
Whether you try everything on this Loreto travel guide or blaze your own trail, you’ll discover many reasons to love this peaceful destination in Mexico when you come visit the soothing city of Loreto. Take a look at trip101.com, a great site about destination guides on Mexico.